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‘Safer’ habitat being built for conservation of blackbucks

- KAMAL PANTHI, GULARIYA
‘Safer’ habitat being built for conservation of blackbucks

Jan 28, 2015-An initiative has been taken to conserve blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra), which is listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, by constructing safer habitat for them at the Khairapur-based Blackbuck Conservation Area (BCA) in the district.

According to conservation officer Narayan Rupakheti at the BCA, they were prompted to take such a measure after 40 blackbucks in the district had been swept away by last year’s (mid-August) floods. As part of the initiative, the blackbuck habitat area spread over an area of three hectares will be elevated by three-metres from the surface using mud deposits. Tree saplings will also be planted in those parts of the conservation area which are located near the Babai river, Rupakheti said.

Likewise, the road passing through the conservation area will also be relocated 25 metres east from its present location, as the movement of locals and vehicles through the road has led to the migration of blackbucks in large number seeking safer pastures. The Hariyo Ban (Green Forest) Programme has allocated Rs 4.75 million for the programme expected to be completed within the current fiscal year.

The government has already constructed a 10 km long fence around the conservation area at a cost of Rs 20 million at Khairapur, the designated conservation area for the near-threatened blackbucks, two years ago. The government had officially declared Khairapur as Blackbuck Conservation Area in March 16, 2009. Spread over an area of approximately 479 hectares, the BCA is home to around 245 blackbucks.

While conservation efforts have been hampered due to lack of proper infrastructure, care and good habitat for the blackbucks, one of the chief problems faced by the authorities for the conservation of the endangered species is how to relocate 93 human families living inside the conservation area since 1971, said Tanka Prasad Adhikari, chairperson of BCA Management Committee. Adding to their woes, 49 households of illegal squatters have setup temporary structures by encroaching over seven hectares of land belonging to the BCA since 2006.

Efforts for the conservation of blackbuck in the country began in the year 1975 when a small herd was spotted in Khairapur VDC of Bardiya District.

Published: 28-01-2015 10:23

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